Ask Hua Li #13 – When you’re on Grindr and your dad’s on Adult Friend Finder

June 11, 2014    

Ask Hua Li

Hua Li is an indie hip-hop artist by night, jazz vocal teacher by day, and 24/7 badass. Every other Wednesday (a.k.a., Hump Day) she releases a new edition of “Ask Hua Li,” Radio Cannon’s sex column for the post-queer, the pre-queer, and everything in between. Ask her an anonymous question at the bottom of this post.


Hi Hua Li,


I’ve just started exploring on Grindr, and I’ve been recognizing guys I know platonically. In most cases, I’d be fine if that changed. I’m pretty open, but haven’t disclosed my identity online, yet. Should I feel comfortable taking the initiative, or is it more common for users to prefer anonymity? What’s the etiquette around bringing up (or not) in a conversation what you’ve noticed on the app? Considering I know they’re looking for something, what’s a better way to approach them about it?


First Ride’s Free


Dear FRF,


I find the world of hookup apps and websites (which I generally refer to collectively as sex social media) absolutely fascinating, if not also a little creepy and intimidating. I’ve briefly mentioned my personal experiences with OkCupid and Tinder in a previous column, and I’m inclined to say that while I’ve learned that my preferences for how I go about meeting potential sex partners don’t necessarily include either of these services, I can certainly see what their appeal might be to others. One of my good friends, for instance, loves Tinder because it allows him to meet people from social circles outside of the ones he normally travels in. Another friend suggested to me after living for a year in New York City that sex social media was the only way to go on dates in the city because everyone is so busy trying to pay their exorbitantly high rents. Personally my distaste for sex social media stems from being a social and very tactile and otherwise sensory oriented person. I like to hear people’s voices and read into their body language and smell their pheromones. It’s hard for me to make the leap from ‘swiping right’ on a cute picture to meeting someone in person because once I enter the (often times banal) world of chatting through sex social media the immediacy of sensation is gone and there’s a good chance I’m already interacting in some capacity or another with someone in real life and so by that point, I’ve completely lost interest.


While I don’t have much personal experience with Grindr outside of the late-night cuddling sessions I’ve had next to friends using the app trying to get out of their late-night cuddle with their platonic lady friend, I would say that from what I’ve seen, most people choose a username that isn’t their actual name, which suggests a certain amount of discretion. On the other hand, it’s expected that most users will choose photos of themselves because, well, that’s only fair. Basically, I think most people using Grindr or other sex social media assume that they will run into people they know IRL. I think it’s definitely possible to use sex social media as a means to begin a flirt with someone you already know outside of the Internet. I would however, find fault with the logic that you should approach your friends about what you’ve seen on the app based on the assumption that you know they’re “looking for something.” I mean, I generally assume most people are interested in having sex with someone regardless of whether or not they are using sex social media as a tool to have that sex, and I’ve never really tried to open an interaction with, “Hey, I know you’re human, and I’m human too, and I also know that humans often love to have sex with each other so… do you know where I’m going with this?”


I reached out to our Benetton Mob sex shaman, whom I would say is particularly adept at navigating the dynamics of sex social media, and he made some interesting points, saying, “If you are a good friend, you should not get all up in your friend’s sex game business. If your friend wanted to fuck you, they most probably would have already, or at least they would have tried. Grindr is a game everyone is playing that no one wants anyone to know they are playing. It’s intimate – you may as well ask your friend, ‘how big is yr dick.’” He makes a good point. I’ve definitely had friends mention to me that they saw me on Tinder or OkCupid, and I’ve had friends send me friendly, complimentary messages on both of these platforms, but generally neither of us assumed that just because we were both looking to bang someone, we necessarily wanted those people to be each other. Sometimes sex social media can be the ice breaker two people who are attracted to each other in real life need, but I would remind you, FRF, that while you should trust your instincts on these things, it’s always a good idea to remain respectful and non-invasive about the ways that the people you know in life go about their sex games.


Dear Hua Li,


My father recently got divorced after fifteen years of marriage to his second wife. I’ve come to learn over the intervening months since the divorce that my dad is a total dog. He cracks jokes about hooking up with girls even younger than me. I find that pretty annoying, but my real concern is that one time, when I borrowed his iPhone to look something up, was open in his browser. I’m pretty sure that website is a scam and that everyone on it is a bot. Isn’t that the site that comes up in the sidebar when you watch free porn on the Internet? Should I tell my dad that he’s wasting his time and money?


Timid, Confused Son


Dear TCS,


I had never really poked around Adult Friend Finder until after reading your question, and I have to say, if only on a purely aesthetic level, the site looks pretty scam-y. A friend of mine that used to write scripts for Brazzers mentioned that the same company that owns Brazzers owns a huge majority of free, streaming porn websites, as well as a hookup site, whose name escapes me, that very well could have been or maybe not. (At the time I was just a musician, and not a sex writer, so these things seemed less important to retain.) Regardless, this friend confirmed that many of the profiles on sites like these are bots created by the website owners in order to generate hits and convince members to fork over the cash to sign up. A cursory Google search brought up an overwhelming number of negative reviews and consumer reports specifically aimed at Adult Friend Finder, particularly, the lack of real, active profiles on the website and the frequency of sketchy credit card activities, so I would say, TCS, that your suspicions are fairly justified.

I’m curious as to what’s stopping you from telling your father what you think about the website. Do you feel uncomfortable talking to him about his sex social media use because of the way his jokes make you feel? Maybe you could look at this is a means to open up a discussion with him about what annoys you about his jokes – you know, gain his trust, and then use that trust as leverage to talk about the real stuff. Or, you could try not being manipulative at all and just present him with the facts about Adult Friend Finder and allow him to make his own decisions. Maybe you could just forward him this column. I’m not sure how things work in your family, but if you feel like there are things you want to bring up with your father, or anyone that you’re close to, my experience shows that it’s best to just get to it.

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